US pullout from Syria to be done in ‘prudent’ way: Trump

President Donald Trump on Monday sought to end fears of an abrupt US pullout from Syria. (AP)
Updated 08 January 2019
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US pullout from Syria to be done in ‘prudent’ way: Trump

  • Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in the Syria
  • Allies like Britain and France warned that Daesh was not defeated

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Monday sought to end fears of an abrupt US pullout from Syria, saying the fight against Daesh was not over and that withdrawal would be done in a "prudent" manner.
"We will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight Daesh and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!" Trump tweeted.
The president has come under withering pressure both at home and in allied capitals after previous statements indicating that he considered Daesh vanquished and that he wanted US troops out of Syria imminently.
Trump's new statement follows a trip by his national security adviser John Bolton to Israel in which he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that withdrawal would not happen before "ISIS is defeated and not able to revive itself."
The reassurances followed a diplomatic storm caused by Trump's surprise announcement in December that appeared to signal a rapid withdrawal from Syria, where US special forces play an important role in supporting local forces fighting Daesh.
"We've won against ISIS," he said at the time. "We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. We've taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home."
Allies like Britain and France warned that Daesh was not defeated. Questions were also raised over the fate of Kurdish groups that have done much of the fighting alongside the United States in Syria, but now fear attacks from Turkey.
The initial pullout promise also sparked outspoken opposition from within Trump's Republican party and the resignation of respected defense secretary James Mattis.
In Monday's statement, Trump complained that media coverage had skewed his original words, saying that his latest position on Syria was "no different from my original statements."
Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in the Syria, which is in the grips of a complex civil war. Most of the US soldiers are there to train local forces fighting Daesh.


Lebanon PM undergoes heart procedure in France

Updated 25 March 2019
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Lebanon PM undergoes heart procedure in France

  • Hariri’s office said the 48-year-old underwent an hour-long angioplasty procedure
  • Hariri will return to his home in Paris later Monday

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s prime minister underwent a heart procedure in a Paris hospital on Monday and is expected to be discharged later in the day.
Saad Hariri’s office said the 48-year-old underwent an hour-long angioplasty procedure, used to treat blocked arteries. Hariri’s personal physician, Essam Yassin, said the prime minister is well and described the procedure as a “preventive” measure.
He said Hariri will return to his home in Paris later Monday.
Hariri is the youngest head of state in the region, and has been Lebanon’s prime minister for three separate periods since 2009. He is now presiding over his third Cabinet, after being named premier again in February.
His father, Rafik Hariri, a business tycoon who also served as Lebanon’s prime minister, was assassinated in 2005.